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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3865 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

I have heard anecdotally about Actew responding to suggestions for water saving initiatives with comments such as, "We're in the business of selling water."That is the fundamental problem you have-also with commercialising electricity sales. There is obviously a conflict of interest within the mission statement of any corporation-to maximise profit against the need to sell as little of the product as possible, which is the aim of an energy service with the goal of conservation.

Actew, as government has done, researched initiatives that studied, for instance, actual water use-contingent values of water, or what people are willing to do to conserve water in Canberra and the xeriscape garden. Commercialising operations often means-in this case, meant-destroying that capacity to engage in such research.

Another important aspect of considering water is water quality and health. At the moment, as we are all aware, the lakes have been closed due to an algal bloom breakout. This is caused by excess nutrients from sources such as sewerage, stormwater, fertilisers, and from soil erosion. There were also nutrients going into our water catchment area after the fires there.

The health of our lakes relates to how water moves through the urban environment. At the moment, stormwater run-off goes straight into the drainage system, having collected oils, animal waste and other pollutants from the roads and paved surfaces. If we were able to reuse it on parks, gardens, sports facilities and agricultural areas, the process of moving it through more soft ground would assist in filtering the water of pollutants. This issue is highlighted because we use our lakes for recreation purposes.

Of course, there are some very good projects at the moment: catchment projects, such as at Sullivans Creek, and reintroducing the more natural wetland environment around the stormwater drains, which acts as a good filter as well. Those initiatives are also to be commended.

I have again been looking at the strategy that was carried out in the ACT in 1994. A very good consultation process with the people of Canberra occurred. Surveys showed that Canberrans feel very strongly that wilderness should exist, even if they are not likely to see or use protected areas, and that they are also willing to maintain, at some possible cost to themselves, the flow of water in rivers. That was in 1994, and people are much more aware of these issues now.

It is our responsibility as community leaders to do everything we can to promote water conservation, to promote the aesthetic and to promote sustainability and bring about cultural change so that we live in harmony with the environment in which we find ourselves.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (3.49): This is a very important motion and, of course, very timely. I was very pleased to launch Water Week at the xeriscape garden in Weston yesterday, which is a significant initiative backed by the CIT and Actew.

As members will know, the xeriscape garden suffered enormous damage during the recent bushfire. In fact, it was burnt out, although, quite amazingly, some of the

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